What's behind the mask?
Domestic abuse can be happening right under our noses with victims suffering in silence or simply not knowing that they are victims.
In a world where photos are constantly posted on social media, GMP are encouraging friends, family and colleagues to look beyond the lens, the filters and the emojis to find out if the person they love and care for needs help.
Domestic abuse includes coercive and controlling behaviour, financial and emotional abuse as well as violence and can affect anybody, regardless of gender, age, race, sexuality or social background. It is not acceptable in any circumstance.
Detective Superintendent Gwyn Dodd from Greater Manchester Police said:
'We want to encourage victims, friends and family to report domestic abuse and put an end to it. We are here to help and want victims or those with concerns to know they can turn to us. Domestic abuse has potentially devastating consequences and it’s important people are aware of how to spot the signs.
Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right it might not be. If you can tell that they are being controlled, are in a violent relationship or are being stopped from meeting friends and family report it.
We know that one in three women will be a victim of abuse in their lifetime, as will one in six men. This is a sad statistic which highlights the scale of the problem across Greater Manchester.
Always dial 999 where there is a threat to someone’s life or a crime in progress. By encouraging reporting we can reduce the number of incidents of domestic abuse and save lives.'
It’s never easy to come to terms with knowing that someone is suffering. While every domestic abuse case is different, there may be telltale signs that indicate abuse is taking place.
Bruising, cuts or injuries or walking stiffly or appears sore. These injuries may come with explanations that don’t fit with the description.
The victim may excuse their injuries by claiming they are clumsy or gives the same explanation each time.
Displays physical symptoms related to stress, other anxiety disorders or depression, such as panic attacks, feelings of isolation and an inability to cope. They may even talk about suicide attempts or self-harming.
Absent from work
Often off work, takes time off without notice or is frequently late.
You may notice personality changes when the victim is around their partner, appears to ‘walk on eggshells’, may be jumpy or nervous.
Low self-esteem or lack of confidence regarding their relationship or life in general and may seem sad, cry or be depressed.
Lack of opportunity to communicate independently
Perhaps their partner talks over them, or for them. Their partner may appear controlling or regularly belittle the victim.
May take the blame for anything that happens, whether it’s at work, with the kids or with friends. They may blame themselves for the abuse.
Lack of money
Never seems to have any money because their partner is withholding money to control them.
Makes excuses for not going out with friends, or suddenly pulls out of social meets at the last minute.
Partner displays irrational behaviour
Their partner is jealous, irrational or possessive. Their partner may accuse them of having affairs, flirting or may read their emails, check their phone or constantly phone to check up on them.
Pregnancy often triggers the start of domestic abuse. A individual may be unhappy at being pregnant, not wish to continue with the pregnancy, or be forced into having a termination.
May use alcohol or drugs to cope or even prescribed drugs such as tranquillisers or anti-depressants.
Damage to property
There may be damage to the home or even harm to pets. Unwilling to give out personal details – may not give friends and colleagues their address or telephone number and may insist that they contact you, so that you don’t turn up on their doorstep.
Honour Based Abuse (HBA) includes Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation are harmful practices which we know affects not just the most vulnerable people of society but also those who we would ordinarily believe to be empowered enough to come forward and seek help but unfortunately don’t.
The concept of dishonour exists in all walks of minority communities including Asian, African, Middle Eastern and European societies.
The victim can be male or female made further vulnerable because they are a child.
Other vulnerabilities can be mental health, learning difficulties or physical disabilities that the globe of perpetrators can exploit.
A victim may be a UK citizen, a foreign national or a probationary spouse unable to speak English.
You can also call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 75 25.